Flames coach Ronny Van Geneugden (RVG) says despite Malawi’s flamboyant passing football, the team must overcome failure to finish off the game as they face Comoros in a crucial 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier tomorrow at Stade de Moroni in Comoros.
In an interview after arriving in Comoros, the coach said the team’s biggest challenge is failure to score, something that takes away all the credit.
“The only minus after [my] several months [with the national team] is that we don’t score. We cannot finish the game,” he said.
The coach said the coming in of former Malawi internationals to drill the players gives him hope that the team will end the goal-drought.
“We had Esau [Kanyenda] in camp who assisted us. Lule [Lawrence Waya] was also there. We did everything possible to give our strikers everything they need to score.”
“We have Chiukepo and Gastin, who are the current top [scorers] strikers in the Super League. Everything is there to show we are ready to break the wall to finalise that last point—that is to score goals,” said RVG.
The Belgian coach said they want to continue from where the team stopped when Malawi held Cameroon to a 0-0 draw.
“We want to continue the way we played against Cameroon: That means from the first minute, we want to play our own game. Put pressure on the opponent; play a passing game and try to create chances. I am sure we have the possibility, the luck also and the confidence that we can score goals,” he said.
But the Flames face a side that has not lost at home in the qualifiers against Morocco and Cameroon and RVG is aware of the challenge ahead.
“It’s a very strong team, especially at home. They never give up. They are every motivated. They need a first win in the Afcon qualifiers. They will do everything to get a result against us ,” he said.
Aside from the Afcon qualification, RVG has been under pressure for results, having recorded just two victories, seven losses and 10 draws in 19 matches.
However, the coach said despite the poor record, he has achieved a lot.
“I am very happy that we had that home game against Cameroon at Kamuzu Stadium because all these months before we had to explain how we are performing and what we are doing because the results were not matching with the way we were playing. Nobody saw our games, nobody saw how that team was playing.
“So, it was always from our side trying to explain it and it was very difficult [for people] to understand it when you don’t see it your own eyes. That’s why I am happy and everybody is happy finally saw Malawi playing at home against Cameroon.”
Meanwhile, the coach now has a full house following the arrival of all foreign-based players.
Mozambique-based Charles Swini, Frank Banda and Richard Mbulu and Japan-based Jabulani Linje joined the squad in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia before the team flew to Comoros.
FAM competitions and media director Gomezgani Zakazaka, who has travelled with the team, said the arrival of the foreign-based players boosted the morale in camp.
“The morale is high. The players are looking forward to the match,” he said.
Captain John Lanjesi said despite missing key players, they will fight to the end.
“So far, so good. We had good preparations for two weeks. Of all the games, this is a very important match. The result will decide whether we will go to Afcon or not. Of course we are playing without key players such as captain Limbikani Mzava, Frank ‘Gabadinho’ Mhango, John Banda—but we still are going to fight for three points so that we remain in contention,” he said.
Morocco lead Group B with eight points followed by Cameroon with seven points.
The Flames are third with four points while Comoros are at the bottom with two points.